Currency is hot! This month we introduce treasure-hunters Ottoman Hands to our roster of talented designers. Coins are massive in jewellery right now, and Ottoman Hands’ shiny gold earrings, bohemian rings and necklaces strung with Roman-style gold pieces are some of the most gorgeous – straight out of a beached pirate chest.
But using coins in jewellery is in no way a new trend. Since there was currency, money has been used in designs. Wearing your wealth in the form of accessories dates back to Egyptian, Greek and Roman times – find inspirational pieces in museums worldwide – in addition to showing how rich you were, it was also thought that these pieces brought luck to their wearer.
Zip forward to the Victorian era, and common coins taken out of circulation and engraved with sentimental messages were popular. These were often made by sailors and given to their sweethearts and families as love tokens. They’d often be linked together in bracelets, necklaces and dangled from watch chains.
In WWI, soldiers would spend hours hammering out parts of common coins to create tokens to send home; they’d cut out silhouettes and string them on chains. Post WWII, austerity spawned more pieces made from coins – with a lack of precious metals, silver and copper coins were soldered together in the form of cuffs.
The money-orientated 1980s were all about ostentatious displays of wealth, and it didn’t get more ostentatious than Mr T – his multi-layered necklaces, wristbands and earrings jangling as he took off for another mission with the A-Team. A more refined take came courtesy of Chanel, whose logo coin chains hung heavily on the necks of supermodels.
Today, coin jewellery is more about wandering than wealth. We love the antique, nomadic vibe of contemporary coin-inspired pieces – there’s something wild and carefree about them. Perfect for wearing on holiday, or just to bring a bohemian feel to your everyday look, they’re endlessly versatile – they suit both chunky and delicate designs. Layer your coins up, or keep things focussed and chic. Pennies from heaven, indeed.